Ferid Murad, 1936–, American pharmacologist, b. Whiting, Ind., M.D., Ph.D. Western Reserve Univ. (now Case Western Reserve Univ.), 1965. Murad taught at the Univ. of Virginia (1975–81), Stanford Univ. (1981–89), and Northwestern Univ. (1988) and worked in the private sector for Abbott Laboratories (1988–92) and Molecular Geriatrics Corporation (1993–95). In 1997 he became a professor at the Univ. of Texas, Houston. In 1998, he was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Louis J. Ignarro and Robert F. Furchgott for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide's function as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. Murad analyzed the action of nitroglycerin and other vasodilators and discovered that they relax smooth muscle cells through the release of nitric oxide. The finding has had significant medical implications in the treatment of not only cardiovascular disease but also impotence, septic shock, and cancer; the work led to the development of the anti-impotence sildenafil citrate (Viagra).
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